The Analogue Phone Line Switch-Off: What UK Businesses Need to Know

According to recently published data, the average lifespan of a mobile phone in the UK is 2.5 years. This is a device used every day to make and receive all your calls and more. But the lifespan of this technology is tiny compared to the telephone infrastructure that still connects both residential and UK businesses via the landline. The analogue phone line system (or PSTN) has been around for over 100 years, and even today is relied upon by millions of UK businesses to enable phone calls.


But in 2025, this technology will be archived by Openreach / BT and replaced by new, all-IP services. But although the full conclusion of this process will be next year, the analogue phone line switch-off is already well underway. The switch-off in the UK marks a significant technological shift that will affect many businesses as more advanced, digital solutions take its place. To understand the timeline, the services affected, and the latest status, here’s a guide on the analogue phone line switch-off.

What is an analogue phone line?

As mentioned above, analogue phone lines have been around for far longer than the smart devices we all carry today. The PSTN, or analogue phone lines have been the foundation of telecommunications since the late 19th century, enabling voice and data transmissions over copper wire, connecting our homes and businesses for generations. However, with advances in technology, these lines are no longer sufficient to keep up with the digital demands of modern communications, and are not as efficient or scalable as modern full-fibre technology.

What services will be affected?

The switch-off will impact several key services that currently rely on analogue phone lines, including:

  • Alarms and Security Systems: Many alarm systems use analogue phone lines to connect to emergency services.
  • Business phone systems: It is estimated that nearly 2 million businesses have phone services that are connected to the PSTN.
  • Lifts: Emergency phones found in lifts are typically connected via an analogue network.
  • Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) Systems: Retail payment systems often use analogue lines for transactions, not all businesses are using modern all-IP systems such as Sum-up.
  • CCTV: Some older CCTV setups use analogue lines to transmit video data.

Businesses using any of these services will need to consider alternatives or upgrades to ensure that they continue to function after the analogue phone line switch-off.

How will analogue phone lines be phased out?

This process started seven years ago in 2017 with an announcement from Openreach with their intention to switch-off the analogue phone lines. This is what the process looks like so far:

  • Announcement and Public Awareness Campaign: BT and other providers communicated their plans to businesses and the public in 2017. Since then, a public awareness campaign has continued via BT directly, and through industry initiatives like ‘Fit to Switch’.
  • Stop-sell: As of 2023, customers are no longer able to order new PSTN services or add to the existing ones, a process called a ‘stop-sell’.
  • Managed Transition: Over the next 18 months, business need to start migrating to all-IP services to ensure that they stay connected and maintain their business phone numbers.
  • Complete Switch-Off: By the end of 2025, all existing analogue phone line / PSTN services will be disconnected.

How far has the switch-off progressed so far?

The analogue phone line switch-off has continued to progress following the announcement in 2017. Recently, there has been some concern regarding the completion of the process, but this is more relevant for residential lines, particularly those relating to vulnerable users. In the majority of cases, businesses will still need to complete the switch before the end of 2025 at the latest.

Following some early switch-offs at pilot exchanges across the UK, the stop-sell rollout has been expanding to cover more regions across the UK and will continue throughout the rest of the year.

What should businesses do if affected by the analogue switch-off?

Whilst the migration from analogue phone lines to all-IP is far less straightforward than upgrading the mobile phone in your pocket, it shouldn’t stop you from making a plan as soon as possible. By understanding what services will be affected and what suppliers they need to engage with, businesses can ensure that the transition takes place with minimal disruption or costs.

Businesses should act now to assess their current setup, plan their transition, and implement the necessary changes well ahead of the final analogue phone line switch-off deadline in 2025. By doing so, they will protect their business continuity and embrace the modern, all-IP future.

PSTN Switch-off Guide

Click below to learn more about the impact of the PSTN switch-off and what you need to action for your business


More articles

Interpreting BT’s latest PSTN switch-off announcement

Interpreting BT’s latest PSTN switch-off announcement

In November 2017, BT announced their intention to retire analogue telephone networks such as the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) by the end of 2025. On 20th May 2024, they released details of a “refined digital switchover programme,” causing confusion for the...

Wave earns ‘PC Pro Recommendation’ for third year running

Wave earns ‘PC Pro Recommendation’ for third year running

We are delighted to announce that our very own, cloud-based phone system, Wave has earned PC Pro Recommended status for the third consecutive year. As part of PC Pro Magazine issue 357, which included a report marking the best business VoIP phone systems, Wave stands...

How To Keep Your Business Phone Number After The PSTN Switch-Off

How To Keep Your Business Phone Number After The PSTN Switch-Off

Do you recognise “Got your number, 118 118” or “0800 00 1066”? Does reading the numbers here in that order create a sense of nostalgia and mean you can easily call back to the advert you saw them on and remember the related business? Your business phone numbers...